EHCC > End Hunger News > More than just coffee

We’re looking to engage the Calvert County community…
— Rev. Robert Hahn, CEO, End Hunger in Calvert County

At Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown, church, Honduras, ending hunger and coffee all go hand in hand.

“It’s a lot bigger than it looks,” said the Rev. Robert Hahn.

First, there’s the church, which is central to the whole thing. Then, there’s End Hunger in Calvert County, the nonprofit that, through various community partnerships, is aimed at ending hunger locally. Then, the church supports a medical clinic in Honduras in partnership with other churches. While some churches support missionaries or missions organizations in various external locations, Chesapeake Church focuses on Honduras.

A new coffee shop called The Lobby Coffee Bar, which opened March 5 and moved to being open seven days a week April 18, is located in the church’s lobby at the intersection of all three aspects, Hahn said. By supporting coffee growers in Honduras (where coffee is a major export), by using a supplier and roaster who uses Honduran beans, the coffee shop supports the economy of the country in which the church is involved. Hahn said he has met with coffee growers in Honduras.

The coffee shop is staffed by graduates of the End Hunger cafe management program and the shop is owned and operated by End Hunger. Through the cafe management program and the culinary training program, End Hunger provides job training to help people be more employable. The cafe management program especially helps young people, Hahn said, as they can learn how to make coffee and other related skills to support themselves during college, thus decreasing the financial burden on themselves and their families. Baristas are paid about 15 percent more than those who work at national chains.

In turn, whatever proceeds come from The Lobby Coffee Bar will go to End Hunger or Honduras. The shop’s not profitable yet, but in time, it will be.

Hahn said the coffee bar isn’t intended to be a place where someone just grabs a cup of coffee and leaves.

“We’re looking to engage the Calvert County community,” he said.

It’s the hope that entertainment will be offered in addition to other special events like game nights. Additionally, businesses could use available space for meetings and the space could act as a hub for families and young people, providing somewhere for young people to hang out other than a bar. There’s also the hope that a lunch and dinner menu will be available.

The prices of the menu items are more affordable than those of chains, as the prices aren’t driven by profit, Hahn said.

Justin Rollins was a member of the inaugural cafe management class through End Hunger and is now a full-time coffee operations manager at The Lobby Coffee Bar. Before, he worked as a facilities technician at Chesapeake Church. His previous position was more behind the scenes, but working in the coffee shop allows for more connections with people.

“Now I’m usually the first person people see,” Rollins said.

Becca Lewis was in the second cafe management class. Now she’s one of the three full-time managers. Before working at The Lobby, she was a nanny.

Lewis said employees are encouraged to talk with customers and to make relationships the highest priority.

“It’s much more than giving people coffee. … It’s meeting people where they’re at,” Lewis said.

The Lobby Coffee Bar is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, go to www.chesapeakechurch.org/thelobby.

By SARAH FALLIN [email protected] Twitter: @CalRecSARAH